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Kidney Disease Could Be More Deadly for Kids With Lupus

FRIDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adults with kidney disease caused by the autoimmune disease lupus have a higher risk of death than those with other types of kidney disease, researchers have found.

Systemic lupus erythematosus, commonly known as lupus, affects one or more parts of the body, such as the eyes, joints, skin, heart and kidneys. Up to 80 percent of children with lupus suffer kidney damage.

In the new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 98,000 children and adults with various types of end-stage kidney disease, concluding that lupus was a consistent predictor of death from all causes, regardless of the person's age.

Children with lupus kidney disease were no more likely than adults to die from it, but both children and adults with lupus kidney disease were more likely to die for any reason than were people with kidney disease caused by something other than lupus, the study reported.

Specifically, the researchers found that children with lupus kidney disease were 2.4 times more likely to die than children with other forms of kidney disease, and adults with lupus kidney disease were 1.7 times more likely to die than adults with other forms of end-stage kidney disease.

Heart disease was the most common cause of death among children and adults with lupus kidney disease, the findings indicated.

"What we may be seeing here is a double whammy of cardiovascular damage -- on one hand, there's the damage caused by lupus itself, further compounded by the resulting kidney disease," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Sangeeta Sule, a pediatric nephrologist and lupus expert at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, said in a Hopkins news release.

Heart monitoring is critical in all people with kidney disease, and even more so in people with lupus kidney disease, the researchers stated.

The study is published online and in the January 2011 print issue of Pediatric Nephrology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains how lupus can affect the kidneys.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, Dec. 13, 2010

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